Updated from 10:56 a.m. EDT


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expects 4% growth in worldwide sales volume this quarter, the company said Wednesday.

Analysts said the numbers indicated a slower-than-expected recovery by the soft drink maker, and its shares finished up 69 cents, or 1%, at $55.63.

For the third quarter, unit volume in North America will be even, the company said. Growth will be 4% to 5% in Latin America and Europe, 3% to 4% in Africa and the Middle East and 7% to 8% in the company's Asia Pacific group. Some analysts had expected double-digit growth in the latter market, which includes Japan.

"It's a slower recovery than many had expected," said Tim Swanson, analyst for

A.G. Edwards & Sons

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. The cause of the slow growth is "difficult to say in North America because we don't have


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numbers out yet." Swanson rates the stock maintain, and his firm has not done underwriting for Coca-Cola.

The Atlanta-based company said sales in North America were weak at the quarter's start but improved thanks to marketing activities.

Coke is expected to report earnings of 41 cents a diluted share in mid-October, while rival Pepsi is expected to report earnings of 39 cents a share next week, according to

First Call/Thomson Financial


Coke said it is comfortable with its previously stated unit case volume growth predictions of around 5% this year and 6% or 7% next year.